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Monday, January 20, 2014

Killed by the Falling of A Tree

News of the Past:  taken from the New York Times, August 15, 1854

Killed by the Falling of A Tree

We regret to learn the death of Martha, wife of John B. Good, of North Lewisburg, Champaign County.  During a severe storm of rain and wind on Thursday afternoon last, Mr. Good and his wife were returning to their house, and when within a quarter of a mile thereof, a tree was blown down and fell directly upon both of them.  Mrs. Good was instantly killed, having been literally mashed to pieces.  Mr. Good was badly bruised and strained, and was unconscious for some time.  It is supposed that he remained in the fragments of his buggy near half an hour before he recovered his consciousness and got from under the branches of the tree.   No one being near, Mr. Good managed to get within hearing distance of his brother-in-law, Willis Spain, who immediately repaired to his assistance.  Mr. Good is likely to survive.  - Springfield, Ohio Democrat Expositer, August 11th.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Absolutely the Best Snipe Hunt Ever!

When I was much, much younger I did not know what a snipe hunt was.  By my eleventh year, I had participated in my first such hunt, and had been mocked by my neighborhood chums to no end.  I had fallen victim to the ploy, and the humiliation of that event would stay in the dark recesses of my mind for the balance of my life.  But revenge...ah, revenge would be most sweet!

There are some basic ground rules and additional information to grasp to understand the nature of a snipe hunt.  Simply put, individuals have to be bored out of their minds in order to resort to this simple test of gullibility, foisted on some totally unsuspecting, often unwilling, victim.
When the target of their misadventure has been identified, a spokesman for the group gives a brief, often improvised history of snipe hunting.  The victim is led to believe that there are small, ground-dwelling birds, nocturnal in nature, who have no other purpose in life but to run around expansive pasture lands, meadows, or woodland areas.  These little birds, the victim is told, will run willynilly across these areas...with a little encouragement of the "beaters," individuals who are assigned the task of making noise and driving the unsuspecting birds into a waiting pillowcase, or other form of bag, which is held by the gullible victim.  The reluctant hero is told he must then quickly close the mouth of the bag, and transport the snipes back to the group's assembly point - some place on the outskirts of the hunting grounds off to the bag-man's front.  The hard work, it is explained to him, is that of the "beaters" who must expend vast amounts of energy and vocalizations in driving the snipes toward the bag.  All the victim has to do is crouch down behind the bag, making use of whatever camouflage can be offered by plant life and terrain in his vicinity.
The bagger is shown to his place of importance, and his comrades then quickly, and quietly, move out of sight to blend in with the darkness which surrounds the victim.  Taking his participation seriously, the bagger holds open the front of the bag and patiently awaits the herders to drive the birds to him.  And he waits.  And he waits.  And he waits.
He realizes that he hears no sounds other than his own breathing, or the occasional noise he makes when he slaps a mosquito that is intent on doing harm to his body.  Or, he hears the rustle of the grass, leaves and debris which enhances every little movement of his body.  Or, if he is particularly alert, in the far distance he hears a muffled laugh from one of his would-be friends who seem to be having a particularly funny experience.
Eventually, a light goes on in the victim's head.  He begins to suspect that he has been duped; that for whatever reason his chums have gotten the best of him.  But, prone to be accepted in their circle, he waits just a few minutes longer in hope that he is wrong.
Finally, crestfallen, he makes his lonely journey across the wide expanse of the field or woodland only to find his companions rollicking in mirth and laughter - at his expense.  For the balance of that night, and for days to come, he will be tortured with the reality that he has been bested.
Months pass; years even.  Within the victim's brain  grows a plan, a way to seek revenge.  It requires a great deal of effort on his part to be patient, to wait for that opportune moment when he can pounce like a tiger and repay in kind others of his fellow humans.
One summer night, years of quiet anticipation become fruitful.  The bagger has become a teenager.  He has a means of transportation, an old automobile which can take him to and fro.  He has friends who enjoy the benefits of his largess, his willingness to drive them from point to point.  On one of their many rides together, his friends begin to talk about snipes, and hunting, and the processes involved.  The once-humiliated victim pretends that he is unaware of these things.  He works diligently to convince his pals that he could be a potential victim of their machinations.  He plays along, and fortunately they do not notice the leering expression on his face.
He drives out into the country, miles from their hometown.  He finds a deserted area adjacent to the country gravel road where he can park the car.  He continues the deception as the boys open the trunk to extract a large gunny sack, which they offer to him as the heralded bag boy.  He lets them lead him far across the field, to the distant wood line.  He listens as they repeat their instructions.  He watches as they move away from him, into the darkness of the night.
Then, ever so quietly, he also begins to move.  He does so at a rapid pace, crossing the distance between his appointed spot and his automobile.  He opens the trunk, tosses the bag in and closes the lid.  He moves to the front of the car, opens the driver's door, and slides effortlessly onto the seat.  He inserts the key into the ignition, starts the car, puts the manual drive lever into first gear, steps on the gas, and roars out of the field and back onto the gravel road.  He rolls down his window, and listens to the mournful cry of his friends, who now stand forlornly in a triangle at the road's edge.  He hears them yelling to him, "Come back!  Come back!"  But he doesn't go back.  He speeds up the vehicle, and maniacally laughs aloud as he sets the hometown as his destination.  He drives the miles almost in a drunken stupor.  He travels down the familiar street, pulls up in front of the restaurant, parks the car and walks inside.  He ambles over to the counter, and sits himself down on one of the chrome and leather stools.  A waitress appears...he knows her from school.  He places his order for a cheeseburger with pickle and mustard, an order of French fries, and a Coke.  While he waits for his order to be delivered, he turns expectantly toward the door.  He sits somewhat restlessly as he waits the long wait, knowing that it will take several minutes for his companions to reunite with him...that they will come to this place to seek him out.  He savors the confrontation, and basks in the victory which is his.  It has taken years!  Revenge!  Sweet revenge!  As he laughs aloud, the other patrons have no concept of what has evolved, nor of absolutely the best snipe hunt ever!

"Went for Sweetening and Got Sweetened"

Even the most trivial matters were the subject of "news" during the 19th century, as newspapers provided their readers with food for thought.  One such matter, covered in the Urbana Union, Urbana, Ohio, on January 29, 1868, concerned honey.
"Went for Sweetening and Got Sweetened"
Mr. Bela Kimball, from near Woodstock, and who will be remembered as the old gentleman who was robbed of several thousand dollars worth of bonds by his unnatural grandson, a year or more ago -- came to town last Friday with some boxes of honey.  He disposed of one box to Mr. Albright, and leaving the remaining two in the wagon, went into Crane's stove foundry, to see if Marc (who is getting to be an old bachelor) did not want "a little honey" of his own.  Whilst in there two crampers came up and gently lifted the honey from the wagon.  Mr. Kimball, coming out, saw them and, with another gentleman, gave pursuit, but without success in capturing them.  The thieves were not gobbled up until the following day, when they came to town, were recognized by Mr. Albright, and arrested by Marshal Fisher.  They were tried before Mayor Long, who sentenced them to 15 days imprisonment and adjudged a fine of $25 each.  The prisoners gave their names as Edward Johnson and Frank Coleman.*  They had sold one box of honey to R. M. Woods for $1.75, and the other to a colored person for $1.10.  Each box contained 13 pounds of honey.
It is supposed that these honey crampers are the same parties that robbed an Indiana bank not long since.

A Soldier's View

During the Civil War, more than 600,000 men of the Union perished over the course of four years.  Very few families in this country were not effected by the war.  Many boys and men who survived the war returned home maimed for life.  Arms, legs, and more had been shot away by heavy metal balls or cannon shot.  Or, limbs had been amputated after they had been horribly damaged by these same instruments of destruction.  Many survivors undoubtedly suffered from what today is known as PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder.  How could they not, having seen and endured so much death and destruction over such long, extended periods of time?  America's first episode with drug addiction followed on the heels of the Civil War, as disabled soldiers turned to the drugs of the era to fight their constant pain, or in an attempt to erase their battle-scarred memories.
The Civil War was America's singularly most important event of the 19th Century.  The cost in lives, property, and abject horror can not be accurately estimated.  Everyone paid in some form or another.
After the war, the veterans who had suffered and their families wanted visual representations of their experiences.  All across the land special monuments, gardens, and cemeteries were constructed in villages, towns and cities of all sizes.  In nearby Urbana, subscriptions were taken, and donations were offered to honor the memories of those boys and men who had sacrificed so much in the cause of preservation of the Union.
By 1870, a commission had been granted to place a monument in Urbana's square.  Atop a pedestal of Quincy granite...the exceptional stone work undertaken by the firm of Rackle and Mosier of Columbus, Ohio...was to be placed a bronze statue of a soldier, "heroic in size."  The statue alone was created at a cost of about $3,000 - a sizeable sum in 1870 dollars.  The stone used in the project cost another $3,000.  A bronze battle piece, at the north of the monument, cost still another $1,000.
The Congress of the United States provided a bronze battle cannon, which was then melted down to be used for the military statue.  Citizens of the area were asked to donate the $3,000 which was required for the casting of the statue.  The project featured a depiction of a Union soldier, head bowed in honor of his fallen comrades, striding toward the North and home.
By September 14, 1870, the foundation and stone work had been set in place.  Inside the stone work were sealed copies of local newspapers, coins, lists of city and county officers, an account of the project and its progress, a list of the soldiers from Champaign County who had served during the Civil War, and an old account of the Champaign County Bible Society from 1838.
Yet to be completed was the statue itself, as an additional $700 in funds was necessary to complete the project.  Once that was done, the Urbana City council would appropriate funds to construct an iron railing around the site.
Thus was born Champaign County's tribute to the brave boys and men who marched off in Union blue to save the Republic.  Logically, this area of Urbana became known as Monument Square.

This blog has been prepared from information provided in the Urbana Union, Urbana, Ohio, September 14, 1870.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Note:  A man by the name of Miller, known in the trade as "Syndicator" Miller, operated a mail scam out of New York City, in 1899.  He targeted potential victims in Woodstock, Ohio, although there were at least six other scammers working the same territory at the same time.  These thieves offered substantial returns on cash investments in their schemes.  Miller topped all of them by offering a 520% return on their money!

Gullibility of Human Nature Revealed Again in the Franklin Syndicate

"Syndicator" Miller was not a mere local operator.  In all parts of the country persons who think that something can be got for nothing are sitting on the edges of their chairs with their savings in their hands waiting for the swindler to find them.  By means of the mails Miller was able to put himself in touch with hundreds of those "silly gillies."  For instance, he got upwards of $50,000 out of one village in Ohio - Woodstock.  When he began to work that mine of rustic innocence he found no less than half a dozen of his fellow-distributors of "experience" hard at work.  They were offering 100 per cent and 200 per cent for money.  Miller's supreme contempt for the common sense of the human animal, as shown in his offer of 520 per cent, soon gave him a monopoly.
It is impossible to estimate how many men there are who are growing rich off the folly of their fellow-citizens, or how many millions annually, earned in sweat and strain, are paid over for lessons that teach nothing.  Probably the wildest guess would fall far short of the truth.  Nor is it possible to protect mankind form itself in this respect.
"How can men be expected to take advice," says Dean Swift, "when they will not even take warning."  There is deep-seated conviction in the breast by most of our race that something can not be got for nothing.  Some prefer gold bricks.  Some are attracted by "green goods."  The wheat market has its own following, stock swindling is popular, and sand lots and land under water all have their thousands.  Each class of people brays and flops its long ears at the misfortunes of others.  And it all goes to make the game of life interesting to the cynical observer.
from the Stark County Democrat (Canton, Ohio) December 1, 1899, page 4

Counterfeiters Bound Over

David Orahood and Mrs. Hardin Examined
Before U. S. Commissioner Cochran and
Held to Answer in $1,000
The case of the state against David Orahood and Mrs. Mary E. Hardin, in which the respondents are charged with the utterance of counterfeit silver coin, had its preliminary hearing before U. S. Commissioner A. P. L. Cochran yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon, and the respondents were bound over in $1,000 bonds, to appear at the next term of the U. S. Court at Cincinnati.  In default of bail, they were remanded to jail.
Five witnesses, Detective Clarence R. Eves, of Cincinnati; Deputy Marshal John L. Flynn, of this city; Mr. and Mrs. John Jones, of North Lewisburg; and Mrs. Davis, of Peoria, Ohio; all testified to substantially  the same facts.  David Orahood was the source from which the false coin emanated, and it appears as if the ancient and ignorant Mrs. Hardin was made the tool of persons more sharp than she.  She pays for her ignorance.
Mrs. Jones, who, at the time, March 2, 1886, kept a bakery in North Lewisburg, testified that Mrs. Hardin came and bought five loaves of bread and paid therefor the spurious quarters, which were produced in evidence.  At another time, Mrs. Hardin bought four loaves of bread and left two new, shining dimes in payment, and was questioned by Mr. Jones, who recognized them as fraudulent.  The old lady replied that they were give her by David Orahood, in whose house she lived, to buy bread with.
Mr. C. Eves, detective, testified that Mrs. Hardin said when he arrested her on the 15th of March that she knew it was bad money, though she afterwards denied that statement.  While the old lady was being arrested, her daughter said:  "Mother, I told you to keep out of the racket."  Orahood made that kind of money, and wanted her to pass it for him.  Mrs. Hardin said she "did not want to get into his messes" but complied with the request because she wanted to keep on the right side of him.
Mr. A. R. Cobaugh, teller of the First National Bank, gave testimony as to the spuriousness of the coins.
On February 26, Orahood passed two nickels and one bad dime on Mr. John Jones for bread.  Mrs. C. A. Davis, of Peoria, testified that Orahood attempted to pass a counterfeit fifty cent piece on her in payment for a five cent cigar.  She refused it.
The parties will languish in the Hamilton County Jail, at Cincinnati, until the time for trial, neither of them being able to furnish the heavy bonds required.  Deputy Marshal Flynn led the wretched old lady off to jail, protesting her ignorance of the wrong, and entreating to be allowed to go home and "change her clothes."  The prisoners were taken to Cincinnati by Deputy Flynn, on the night express.  Both prisoners know a good deal more than they are willing to admit and the end is not yet.
from the Springfield Republic (Springfield, Ohio), March 15, 1887

News of the Day - 1863, 1870

News of the Day

from the Urbana Union (Urbana, Ohio) July 6, 1870

The Catholic picnic at North Lewisburg, on Monday, July 4th, was well attended, and was carried on very pleasantly.  We did not reach the little village in time to hear the addresses delivered on that occasion, and can not say much concerning that part of the exercises, but we understand that there were some very able remarks from Rev. Father McGrath of Lewisburg, also from Rev. Father Young, of West Liberty, after which all partook of refreshments, from a table laden with every good thing of the season, nicely gotten up.
The music for the occasion was furnished by Cushman's Martial Band, from Woodstock.  The platform dance went off very nicely, and many participated in this pleasant exercise (especially on a warm day).  Dancing was kept up until about six o'clock, when the platform was to be used for a moonlight Dance, under the direction of Prof. Cushman's String Band.  This band played some very fine music, but of its execution we cannot boast, for we have heard better bands.   Their music seemed to be mostly Porter's Cotillions, Waltzes, Schotiches, etc.
Everything went off in peace, and we can say that we did not hear or see a drunken man in all that crowd.
from the Urbana Union (Urbana, Ohio) March 4, 1863
Several deserters of the 32nd Regiment were taken through here Monday.  It is a sad sight to see men handcuffed in order to return them to the service, but resistance is in vain - the law must be obeyed.  When a man enters the service of the United States for a stated time he must serve out that time, if possible - if he remains capable and able-bodied; and if he resists or is advised or assisted to resist a return to the service, he and his advisers and abetters must be punished.